24 August 2019 – History was made on Saturday (24 August 2019) when the first ball of the SAFA National Women’s League was kicked at the Nike Football Training Centre in Pimville, Soweto.
After months of planning, the dream finally came to fruition when the first whistle of the new league – launched on Thursday (22 August) sounded at 10h00 with a match up between Bloemfontein Celtic Ladies and their counterparts from the University of the Western Cape, under the tutelage of Banyana Banyana Assistant coach Thinasonke Mbuli.
With both teams boasting of players from the Senior Women’s National Team – Bongeka Gamede and Noxolo Cesane (both UWC) as well as Bambanani Mbane (Celtic Ladies) – the opening match of the league, named SNWL, proved to be a tough outing for the two sides and ended in a goalless stalemate.
In the second fixture of the day, Tsunami Queens from Free Stated caused an upset when they defeated favourites Durban Ladies 1-0 and became the first team to earn three points in the league, while Coal City Wizards followed in Tsunami’s footsteps as they brushed aside University of Johannesburg 2-0 in the last match of the day.
Action continues on Sunday (25 August) at the same venue. Golden Ladies (North Wes) take on Thunderbirds (Eastern Cape) at 10h00, followed by the 12h30 clash between First Touch Academy (Limpopo) and Tshwane University of Technology – TUT (Gauteng), who are also the Sasol League National Champions.
Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies will close the curtain on the weekend games when they go toe to toe against Richmond Ladies (Northern Cape) at 15h30.
The SNWL will be played in blocks over a weekend but in different provinces. They will, however, not play on the weekends when Banyana Banyana is in action.
So the next block of matches will be played on Saturday, 7 September – next weekend the Senior Women’s National Team will be away in Botswana for the first leg of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers.
There are nine Sasol League provincial champions in the league, and they are joined by three teams invited – Bloemfontein Celtic, University of Johannesburg and Mamelodi Sundowns.
With Celtic winning the Sasol League in the Free State, second-placed Tsunami Queens took the number one spot and made it to the SNWL.
Gauteng has three teams, while the Free State has two and the rest have one each.
Here are the participating teams:
* TUT-PTA Gauteng (Sasol League National Champions)
* University of Western Cape Western Cape
* Richmond Ladies Northern Cape
* Golden Ladies North West
* Coal City Wizards Mpumalanga
* Durban Ladies KwaZulu Natal
* First Touch Academy Limpopo
* Thunderbirds Eastern Cape
* Bloemfontein Celtic Free State
– Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Gauteng
– University of Johannesburg Gauteng
– Tsunami Queens Free State
*** Entry to the Nike Football Centre is free ***